A cheerful looking grandfather is preparing a tasteful soup according to an authentic recipe. Under a pleasantly shining sun the family is already waiting to enjoy it together. Exaggerated? Yet this type of atmosphere surrounds food commercials. It is all about storytelling, about creating an experience. That the soup is actually no more than a ready-made factory product does not matter.
The profitability of the food industry is highly dependent on processed and packaged foods. Snacks, granola, meat and frozen products, the supermarkets are full of processed foods, which have a large ecological footprint. The choices are infinite, because obviously the consumer must have a wide choice. In addition, supplying too much is often also commercially more interesting than supplying too little, resulting in unnecessary waste.
‘Authentic’, ‘traditional’ or ‘natural’: marketers make full use of concepts that are intended to make you believe it is a culinary, healthy or sustainable product. A brand is intended to generate a feeling; a brand is an experience. To create this storytelling is flourishing: an actor is used to personify the brand. As a consumer you are drawn into his experiences, allowing you to identify yourself easily with a brand. Romanticising is very common in the food industry ...
Partly because of the large budgets, marketing seriously distorts general perception. Even Coca-Cola - with a business model based on sugar - pretends to be a sustainable company. By contrast, negative effects are neglected, such as the fact that eating a lot of meat is unhealthy. Scientific research has shown that eating meat significantly increases the risk of certain health issues (including heart problems, cancer).
Food companies clearly place the responsibility with the consumers: after all, they decide what they buy. Although consumers have indeed a responsibility, it still is really too short sighted. Businesses and politicians must take responsibility too, because only then consumption, production ánd distribution can be tackled together. Next week: Food distribution is not a matter of choice. Combined approach vital.
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